One of the newest social networking sites that is showing up on the scene is Foursquare. With over 500,000 users to date the company which employees 16 people grossed about $1.35 million dollars last year. Which is not bad for a year old business.
According to PocketLint, Foursquare is a location service-based social network-come-game. Its purpose is allowing its members to share their location with their Foursquare friends by “checking in.” They “check-in” at different locations around town via their cellphone and earn points. You see, whenever you walk into any location around town you simply “check in” to Foursquare and your friends can see what restaurant, bar, or location your at and you earn points. The more points you earn the higher your Foursquare ranking becomes. You can even become “the mayor” of a particular area.
From a business stand point, the opportunities from this location-based network provides endless opportunities. Business can use Foursquare to reward frequent visitors with coupons and incentives. They can also do what Starbucks is doing and use the site as part of their new customer loyalty program. The site is even rolling out a free analytics program to business that provides detailed information about who is “checking in” to their locations and provide them the ability to communicate to these customers.
For the individual members and potential members of this site, there are obvious dangers. They are giving out information about their exact location at a particular time and broadcasting it over the internet. The comforting thing is that the information is only sent to “your friends” whom you have to approve. So, if you are using this particular networking tool or are about to, I would advise you to post locations that you have recently visited or make sure that you have a friend tagging along with you when you post your exact location.